Ruth McCarthy, Time to Think Faculty

Ruth McCarthy

Ruth is ‘on a mission to develop independent thinking, encourage engagement, trust and connection and to transform meetings from dull to dynamic’.

Why?  Because we’ve never needed it more.  Just look around at the world we live in.

It’s possible, and vitally important, to actively create the conditions in which people can think clearly and for themselves.  This is not usual. In fact it’s quite radical – it’s a benign disruption of the norm.  The norm is interruption, advice, direction – even the expectation that others will think for us instead.  That’s what drives me in this work in the Thinking Environment.

As a Consultant and Faculty member at Time to Think ( I lead the exceptional Time to Think programmes and courses including the qualifying courses, for which I’m also a supervisor.

I am inspired in this every day by our deeply human capacity to generate ideas, create insights, increase motivation and experience joy when offered truly generative attention by another individual, or as groups working together in this way.

Relevant experience includes my publishing career, career transition, parenting two daughters,  chairing a national grant-making Trust for over five years, building a successful coaching practice, my remarkable year with startup Future Prospect, creating my own consultancy Think It Through and teaching nationally and internationally, particularly in Ireland.

Following a Masters in Critical Thinking and Cultural Studies at Birkbeck, University of London in 2002 I maintain my own learning and development through peer and other supervision and memberships of relevant organisations such as the Time to Think Collegiate, the Association for Coaching and the Royal Society for Arts, Manufacture and Commerce.  Like many coaches I’m fascinated by the growing understanding of the brain and read around this widely, incorporating ongoing research and ideas into my teaching.


Past and present clients for in house courses and Time to Think training and facilitation include The Arvon Foundation, the RNLI, Healthwatch UK, the Dudley Group NHS, Hammersmith and Fulham Council, the National Audit Office, dunnhumby, Midas PR, Glaxo Smith Kline, Praesta, Natural Motion, Imperial College and Birmingham City University.


Time to Think Courses participants come from corporates such as KPMG and Old Mutual Group,  private sector SMEs including brand marketing and PR; public sector employees from the NHS and the civil service, universities and other places of education, and from national and international non-profits like Save the Children and Amnesty International. Participants are coaches, sole traders, business owners, managers and leaders from every possible sector; they are united by their interest in discovering how best to keep people thinking for and as themselves.

Participants attend from the UK and abroad: the current map of participants includes  Italy, Bermuda, Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Austria, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and Australia.

“This was a game changer for me, both as a personally transformative experience and in learning an approach which elevated everything I had learned in coaching and coaching and personal development to a new level. In only a matter of weeks it has significantly impacted on my client interactions and in those with my family, my friends and my own self awareness”.  Vincent Byrne, Dublin, 2017.

Think It Through Associates

Associates at Think It  Through are other experienced Time to Think Consultants and Facilitators: we work together to deliver Thinking Environment® Courses, Workshops and bespoke facilitation.

Why I choose to work this way

Some years ago my consultant role in a startup finished, my working life changed and I knew I wanted to take new coaching training. When the same name came up several times in different contexts I finally looked up Nancy Kline online and found myself on the Time to Think website. The tone and the level of what I read there really struck home.

A month later I started on the 3-Day Thinking Partnership Course. On day one I volunteered to be the Thinker during our first demo session – with Nancy Kline as my Thinking Partner. It was quite a revelation. I found myself thinking freely, without interruption, advice or comment, about what mattered most to me – which was the pressing matter of what direction my career was now going to take.

And once I’d got to the point of identifying what it was I really wanted to achieve right there in the session, the series of clean, non-directive questions helped me to articulate the assumptions that were holding me back, and then to find the chief assumption. Interrogating that aloud showed me it was untrue. Which hadn’t stopped it from being very powerful.

Invited to do so I went on to identify something that was true for me, and very liberating. Nancy put that into a really searching question. All of it being in my own words, and every word meaning something very significant to me, that question unleashed a real energy and commitment which I can tap into to this day.

That’s the beauty of it, this way of thinking and working together. It’s real and fully in the moment, both forensic and authentic. It takes your thinking to places you’ve never imagined because it’s all about you – and it can also help with the more mundane, as I discovered soon afterwards.

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